What’s in the 2019 Action Plans
Qué hay en los planes de acción de 2019
Contenu des plans d'action 2019
The The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is a multi-stakeholder initiative focused on improving government transparency, ensuring opportunities for citizen participation in public matters, and strengthen... More (OGP) provides an opportunity for government and civil society reformers to make governments more transparent, participatory, and accountable. Working together, government and civil society in 78 countries and a growing number of local members cocreate two-year action plans with concrete commitments across a variety of sectors. The development and implementation of these commitments form the core of OGP activities. These commitments are then monitored by OGP’s The Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) is OGP’s accountability arm and the main means of tracking progress in participating countries. The IRM provides independent, evidence-based, and objective ....
This publication includes commitments from action plans submitted in 2019.* The first section features two commitments that fall within each of the eight focus policy areas included in OGP’s current three-year strategy: Disclosing beneficial owners — those who ultimately control or profit from a business — is essential for combating corruption, stemming illicit financial flows, and fighting tax evasion. Technical... More, Civic Space, OGP participating governments are bringing gender perspectives to popular policy areas, ensuring diversity in participatory processes, and specifically targeting gender gaps in policies to address gov... and OGP participating governments are working to create governments that truly serve all people. This includes many historically oppressed groups such as persons with disabilities, women, lesbian, gay, bi..., Political Integrity, To address barriers that prevent citizens from having their justice needs met, OGP participating governments are working to expand transparency, accountability, and inclusion into all systems of justi..., A transparent procurement process, known as open contracting, increases competition, improves public service delivery, and ensures governments better value for their money. Technical specifications: C..., To ensure that citizens of all groups are better supported by the government, OGP participating governments are working to improve the quality of and access to public services. Commitments in this are..., and As evolving technologies present new opportunities for governments and citizens to advance openness and accountability, OGP participating governments are working to create policies that deal with the .... The second section highlights a OGP commitments are promises for reform co-created by governments and civil society and submitted as part of an action plan. Commitments typically include a description of the problem, concrete action... to watch from each Action plans are at the core of a government’s participation in OGP. They are the product of a co-creation process in which government and civil society jointly develop commitments to open governmen.... These commitments showcase the breadth of public policy challenges that OGP members are currently tackling and can provide inspiration for future cocreation processes.
* Please note that this publication includes commitments from action plans (APs) received between 1 January 2019 and 31 December 2019. APs received after the 31 December 2019 deadline can be found on the OGP website, but are not included here. The featured commitments have not been reviewed by the Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) and this document does not in any way replace the IRM’s role in assessing the quality and According to OGP’s Articles of Governance, OGP commitments should “stretch government practice beyond its current baseline with respect to key areas of open government.” Ambition captures the po... of individual commitments as part of the overall OGP process.
Featured Commitments in Selected Policy Areas
In most countries, a company can be formed without disclosing the identity of the individual who ultimately controls or profits from the business. This makes anonymous company ownership an effective way to mask corruption, evade taxes, and launder money. Beneficial ownership According to OGP’s Articles of Governance, transparency occurs when “government-held information (including on activities and decisions) is open, comprehensive, timely, freely available to the pub... More has proven effective in combating these criminal activities by allowing civil society, journalists, and oversight bodies to investigate suspicious company activities, link this activity to company owners, and ultimately retain public funding from these companies. While still a frontier for much of the world, beneficial ownership transparency is one of the fastest growing areas among OGP members. The following are examples of beneficial ownership commitments from 2019 action plans.
Nigeria’s lack of commercial due diligence requirements has enabled money laundering, drug trafficking, terrorism, and grand corruption. To address these issues, Nigeria made a commitment in its 2017 OGP action plan to collect and disclose beneficial ownership information. Although a website was launched to house data for the extractives sector, the required Creating and passing legislation is one of the most effective ways of ensuring open government reforms have long-lasting effects on government practices. Technical specifications: Act of creating or r... was not adopted. In 2019, Nigeria committed to push ahead with legally requiring the collection of beneficial ownership information and publishing it on an open register according to international standards. In August of 2020, President Muhammadu Buhari signed the new beneficial ownership registry into law as part of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020 (CAMA). The government plans to raise awareness of the register and train people on to use it. Altogether, this reform could mobilize domestic resources and fight corruption by making it harder for people to use anonymous companies to avoid taxation and contribute to illicit financial flows.
The Slovak Republic will build on beneficial ownership reforms in the country’s previous action plan by being the first country to commit to full implementation of the “Beneficial Ownership Transparency Disclosure Principles.” These principles—signed by a coalition of OGP member countries—aim to create a new global standard for increasing corporate transparency and decreasing the misuse of funds. To achieve this, the government will modify its national framework for beneficial ownership and expand the disclosure of data beyond legal entities receiving public funds to include all legal entities, public authorities, and entrepreneurs.
Civic space—the practices that allow citizens and civil society to exercise their civil and political rights, including freedom of expression, assembly, and association—is both the foundation and goal of open government. A resilient and unrestricted civil society is necessary to foster more open, responsive, and accountable governments. Yet across many countries, civic space continues to shrink, which erodes civil society’s ability to operate freely. While many OGP members have made commitments to address civic space concerns, roughly half of OGP countries still face challenges such as regular harassment of activists and journalists, barriers to participation and free assembly, and excessive use of surveillance and data privacy violations. The following examples highlight how members have used their 2019 action plans to address these issues.
In 2017, a New York Times article revealed that the Mexican government had spent US$80 million over 18 months on spyware to surveil lawyers, journalists, and An essential part of open government includes protecting the sacred freedoms and rights of all citizens, including the most vulnerable groups, and holding those who violate human rights accountable. T... defenders. The scandal provoked public outcry. Over 200 civil society organizations demanded better government accountability, including those involved in developing Mexico’s OGP action plan. This 2019 commitment seeks to address the lack of Government reformers are developing regulations that enshrine values of transparency, participation, and accountability in government practices. Technical specifications: Act of creating or reforming ... and supervision of government digital surveillance. The commitment will establish a group of experts from a variety of sectors and government agencies to analyze and modify regulations on the use of surveillance in private communications. All changes will be made in accordance with existing national and international human rights standards.
Ecuadorian legislation does not require the collection or disclosure of information on environmental stewardship. Citizens also lack opportunities to participate in environmental issues; typically, they can only do so through environmental impact assessments. To make environmental governance more open and accountable, Ecuador committed to implement the Escazú Agreement, which aims to provide citizens full and effective access to environmental information, opportunities to participate in environmental decision-making, and Accessible justice systems – both formal and informal – ensure that individuals and communities with legal needs know where to go for help, obtain the help they need, and move through a system tha... More for environmental matters. A national observatory with members from civil society, academia, and local groups will collaborate with the government to develop a roadmap with concrete proposals to ratify and implement the agreement, and oversee its implementation.
Gender and Inclusion
Opening up government is an underexplored means of accelerating gender equality and closing critical gaps in information, access, and participation for marginalized groups. When the perspectives of women, girls, and those across the gender and sexual identity spectrum are part of open government, they bring critical perspectives, knowledge, and skills to increase the potential of reforms. Many OGP members have made important strides to include women in the OGP process and to address gender through commitments. In 2019, gender and inclusion became the fastest growing area across OGP commitments. The following are two examples of these commitments.
Gender equality is a central policy aim of the Afghan government. However, the government has faced obstacles in implementing a national women’s empowerment plan. While the National Action Plan for the Women of Afghanistan gained some ground for gender equality, it suffered from a lack of implementation planning, budget, and monitoring. Having learned from past efforts, the government has committed to establish a joint committee of women ministers and civil society leaders to design a five-year national women empowerment plan with clear budget, monitoring, and evaluation processes. Importantly, this commitment places women at the center of designing and implementing this new plan. In August of 2020, President Ashraf Ghani issued a decree to establish the Women’s High Council, completing one of the milestones of this commitment.
Even though Argentina has ratified most major international and regional human rights treaties, violence against women and girls continues to be a serious and persistent problem. Argentina committed to federalize Micaela Law No. 27499, named after a victim of femicide. The law requires training on gender and violence against women for public servants in all levels of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. Currently, the Micaela Law applies mostly to national government bodies. The commitment aims to ensure the provision’s adoption and implementation by all provincial governments, as well as share information from provincial agencies so citizens can monitor the law’s implementation.
Political activity requires financing. Yet politicians can misuse financing to distort policy outcomes, thereby threatening democracy. Transparent and accountable political finance practices can help level the political playing field and keep criminal money out of politics. The following are examples of political integrity commitments from 2019 action plans.
A lack of Lobbying transparency allows the public to ensure that there is diversity of participation and contribution to public decision-making. Technical specifications: Policies and actions affecting lobbying... transparency in the parliament has led to high levels of public distrust. The government has tried to address this through legislation over the last ten years. To achieve this long sought-after aim, the government formed the Lobbying Transparency Working Group to create and present a lobbying transparency law to the parliament. To facilitate effective implementation of the law, the government has specifically committed to a public awareness campaign and will add the topic of lobbying transparency to public administration training for high-level public officials. This multi-part approach aims to increase public knowledge of how the lobbying process works, who influences government decision-making, and how to get involved.
In Italy, transparency requirements for government lobbying are limited and inconsistent across ministries. As a result, the public lacks information about who is influencing policy-making. To address this issue, the Italian government committed to form a working group of civil society and government representatives to design a public, standardized register of stakeholders across the government. The working group will propose a lobbying code of conduct, guidelines on how to use the register, and publish decision-makers’ meetings and agendas. The City of Rome also committed to establish a register and procedures to ensure transparent lobbying. Uniform guidelines and greater public information on lobbying aims to increase citizens’ understanding of who is influencing policy making and how to engage in the process.
To achieve open government, citizens must have the ability to seek and obtain remedy for grievances and protect their rights against infringement by governments, corporations, or other citizens. A fair, accessible, and efficient justice system offers citizens this opportunity through open and accountable justice institutions, effective legal assistance when necessary, and enforceable constitutional and human rights. Justice is a growing focus across OGP action plans, with several countries making commitments to expand accountability and inclusion within their justice systems. The following are examples from 2019 action plans.
The Sierra Leonean justice system’s lack of resources, capacity, and staffing significantly inhibits citizens’ access to justice. Moreover, citizens far more frequently resolve conflicts through community-level mediation than through courts. To better accommodate citizens’ needs and preferences, the government has committed to develop a national access to justice policy and a directorate for community-based justice services. The government will train 300 community-based justice providers and map available mechanisms for redressing administrative and personal grievances. Additionally, the government will establish a Justice Innovation Centre to facilitate interaction between community justice and formal justice systems. Finally, the government committed to establish a legal assistance fund to assist community negotiations with large-scale land investors. These measures will strengthen the community justice mechanisms predominantly used by Sierra Leone’s most vulnerable citizens.
A backlog in court cases has long delayed justice for Costa Ricans and put strain on judges and other court officials. Although the While a majority of open government reforms occur within the executive branch, OGP members are increasingly taking on commitments to increase the openness of the judicial branch. Technical specificati... publishes information online on cases, budgets, and staffing, the information is not structured so that citizens can easily monitor court performance. To improve citizens’ access to information, Costa Rica plans to work with citizens to visualize judicial information—such as case status and audit findings—on an easy-to-use website. The new platform will enable the public to track performance by region, circuit, court, and subject area. Citizens will also be able to regularly discuss the data with government officials and make recommendations for reducing the backlog.
Worldwide, governments spend about 9.5 trillion (USD)—or 15% of global GDP—on contracts with companies to procure goods and services and procurement is often cited as the single largest corruption risk for governments. Publishing government contracts and contracting data coupled with open and fair contract bidding processes can help reduce this risk by allowing citizens and civil society to monitor who their government pays, and how much. It can also result in significant improvements to government efficiency and value for money, and can level the playing field for business, especially for smaller firms. Open contracting has been a popular area in OGP for several years, with many members focusing on information disclosure. However, new commitments show a growth of inclusive approaches to designing and monitoring contracting processes.
Mongolia’s procurement process is inefficient in part due to a lack of transparency and public oversight. To address this issue, the Ministry of Finance will publish procurement data online and build a portal to receive public feedback. A national consulting team will design public monitoring processes for health and transportation sector procurement, to be carried out by participatory monitoring teams in each province. A working group will use information from community scorecards to identify improvement opportunities. The Ministry will report on participation in the procurement process biannually. The commitment aims to make public-spending more efficient and strengthen public trust in government procurement.
Austin, United States
The Downtown Austin Community Court (DACC) contracts with local nonprofits to provide services to people who are transitioning into housing, with the goal of helping them achieve greater self-sufficiency. Currently, the city purchases these services through a closed, one-size-fits-all contracting approach. The majority of defendants who come before the DACC are experiencing homeless, and a disproportionate number of offenses are committed by a small number of defendants who repeatedly cycle through the criminal justice system at a high cost to community services. By including feedback from defendants, local advocates, and the general public at every step of the procurement process, the city aims to improve civic participation, add transparency to the decision-making process, and promote better use of city resources. Accountability efforts will include biweekly meetings of the Austin Homeless Advisory Committee, convened by the DACC and attended by community and city department representatives.
Public Service Delivery
Efficient, accessible, and open provision of critical public services—such as healthcare, education, and water and sanitation—can transform citizens’ daily lives and increase their trust in government. Given the tremendous impact of these services on communities and the sizable proportion of public spending they represent, citizens have a right to participate in their government’s selection of public service projects and monitor their implementation. Integrating open government principles in service delivery can expand the reach of services, enable feedback mechanisms, and allow citizens to monitor the delivery and quality of the services. The following are examples of commitments on service delivery found in 2019 action plans.
Citizens in Burkina Faso have limited opportunities to report public service delivery issues. Thus, the government lacks citizen input on how to improve delivery. Therefore, the government will pilot a complaint recording and processing system in four public service departments. Government services under consideration for this program include education, health, civil service, and justice. First, the government will establish the legal framework and technical resources necessary for an effective complaint response system. The government will then train employees and create a guide to inform government responses to public service complaints. Finally, the government will increase public awareness of the complaint management system. Increased communication between the public and government will facilitate more transparent and effective public service delivery in Burkina Faso.
Currently, the national government faces challenges obtaining the necessary information and data from public schools to deliver targeted basic education services. Challenges include schools’ geographical isolation, limited access to communication, and poor infrastructure. To address these challenges, the Department of Education will adopt a participatory platform for monitoring and evaluation of basic education data, such as classroom size, school infrastructure, teaching and learning materials, and teacher training. This will strengthen citizens’ ability to track government investments in schools and ensure that funding reaches the right schools, meets the needs on the ground, and serves the intended learning outcomes.
As advanced technology continues to change society, a next generation of digital policy issues has emerged. Technologies such as big data and algorithms can drive more effective policy decisions, and social networks can help governments become more efficient and interconnected. However, the corrosive effects of fake news and hate speech, unethical or discriminatory use of data, and state surveillance threaten fair and open societies. Digital governance is still a frontier issue in OGP, but the following are some of the commitments members made in 2019 to tackle these issues.
Without proper regulation, people can use the internet to undermine civil discourse, credible news, and intellectual property rights. In response to these concerns, the government will work with civil society—including under-represented groups—to develop a “Digital Charter.” The charter will establish norms and rules for the online sphere. In addition, the new Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation will allow citizens to advise the government and regulators on the implications of new data-driven technologies, such as artificial intelligence.
High-quality By opening up data and making it sharable and reusable, governments can enable informed debate, better decision making, and the development of innovative new services. Technical specifications: Polici... and clear ethical guidelines for the use of artificial intelligence (AI) is an important step to increasing data usability and preventing discrimination. This commitment will put in place easy-to-use, developer-friendly interfaces to share data resources with the public. The process aims to motivate data producers to improve the quality and usability of data and data resources. Additionally, this commitment will create guidelines that will promote an ethically, financially, and socially sustainable data and AI policy. Developers will also consider international human rights conventions and UN recommendations on the ethics of AI, as well as data security as a part of the preparatory process.
Other Commitments to Watch
The following commitments are also among the many worth following.
Applying open government values of transparency, participation, and accountability to extractive industries can decrease corruption, safeguard community interests and needs, and support environmental ... and OGP participating governments are improving transparency and citizen participation in natural resource governance to help detect corruption, safeguard community interests, and support environmental su...
Deliberation and Participation
Public Service Delivery
This publication was developed by the Analytics & Insights team of the OGP The OGP Support Unit is a small, permanent group of staff that work closely with the Steering Committee and the Independent Reporting Mechanism to advance the goals of the Open Government Partnership....:
Joseph Foti, Chief Research Officer
Sandy Arce, Program Officer
Renzo Falla, Senior Research Officer
Jessica Hickle, Research Associate
Amelia Katan, Research Associate
Special Thanks: We want to thank our colleagues in the Support Unit and IRM staff for their help.
Copy-edit: Amalia Pleake-Tamm
Design: Richard Scott
Translation: n+1 Language Services (Français); Alejandra Calzada Vázquez Vela and Andreína Pérez (Español)
- What’s in the 2019 Action Plans (English)
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